The Known Universe (2009)

National Geographic

Galaxy M101 is one of the last entries in Charles Messier's famous catalog. About 170,000 light-years across, this galaxy is almost twice the size of our Milky Way Galaxy. M101 was also one of the original spiral nebulae observed by Lord Rosse's large 19th century telescope, the Leviathan of Parsontown. Recorded at infrared wavelengths by the Spitzer Space telescope, this 21st century view shows starlight in blue hues while the galaxy's dust clouds are in red. Examining the dust features in the outer rim of the galaxy, astronomers have found that organic molecules present throughout the rest of M101 are lacking. The organic molecules tracked by Spitzer's instruments are called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), common components of dust in the Milky Way and on planet Earth are found in soot. PAHs are likely destroyed near the outer edges of M101 by energetic radiation in intense star forming regions. Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, K. Gordon (STScI) et al.
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Documentary Description

From the enormous universe in which we exist to tiny atoms that make up the building blocks of everything around us, size matters when it comes to understanding the cosmos. Starting with our solar system, we'll explore the true meaning of word "big." Odds are you saw a model of the solar system made in grade school. With incredibly realistic CGI, we'll reveal how that model, if built to scale, wouldn't fit inside a football field, much less a classroom. Ever wondered what would happen if you were sucked into a black hole? Or, if wormholes could make time travel a reality? And could life on Earth survive a huge meteor strike like the one that took out the dinosaurs? From the Big Bang to the possibility of alien life and deep space travel, scientists expand our understanding of the universe. This series combines the most current scientific information, cutting-edge computer graphics, dramatic time-lapse sequences and everyday examples to shed light on some of the most mind-boggling aspects of our universe.

Source: National Geographic

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